And More...

If you want that lengthy high intensity instrumental thing, of course, once you've got Wetlands you possibly don't need too much more, and if you do there are plenty of live recordings over there at, so there's a definite need to do something different with the studio recordings, which have turned out doing a pretty good job of slotting Randolph into the evolving tradition of Afro-American music.

 In the live setting the opening We Walk This Road, complete with growled Blind Willie Johnson lead in (I'm not a big fan of that sort of thing normally, but in this setting it really works) led off towards the desired direction, maybe not for as long as you'd have preferred but the intensity was there. The March and Ted's Jam both got airings as the Family Band went through their paces at a thunderous roar.

Which brings me to the one major disappointment of the night, and it affected both bands.

Now when you go to a Robert Randolph or Derek Trucks show, you're almost invariably there for extended high volume guitar workouts, but you do like to hear a bit of light and shade, and you do like to be able to discern what's going on vocally.

Maybe it was the venue, possibly it was my seat in the upper tier, but whatever it was the vocals were more than a tad on the muddy side, which wasn't such a problem during the numbers but definitely became an issue when spoken patter between songs came into play.

But, in the long run, it's about the music rather than the patter, and while the vocals could have been clearer the instrumental work through both sets was quite sublime. It's a high volume, high intensity sublimity, particularly when Derek cuts loose with those swathes of sheeting squalling slide soundaramas that are his trademark, but each and every solo brought roars of approval from a crowd obviously enjoying what they were obviously there for.


© Ian Hughes 2012